Tyndmyr wrote:What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.
I think it's more complicated than that. For example, in a lot of the hottest markets, there's a big distortion resulting from institutional investors trying to cash in on the 10-15% year-over-year appreciation rate in the market. This is all a bit OT and maybe better discussed in another thread though.
Eh, how markets work is pretty important to libertarianism, I'd say. And the housing market's pretty important to people in practical terms. I have no objection to discussing the topic here.
Constant appreciation can be a thing if the supply/demand ratio is expected to worsen, sure. In some respects, you're paying for expected future problems.
Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, that makes sense. Googling around, I saw that CA, despite generally attracting a ton of people, was bleeding people making under 110k/yr. That indicates that the low end(for a california standard of "low end", no less! 110k is very good for most of the US) is having most of the troubles. What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.
Looking at Google Maps, I don't think I saw a structure over five stories tall. A twenty story apartment/condo building is not something that exists.
Then again, would you build more than five stories in a place where a 4.0 Earthquake doesn't disrupt your morning run?
Earthquake safety standards are probably not the corner to cut. That said, you can definitely build a lot higher than five stories in an area that gets earthquakes. San Francisco has a couple dozen skyscrapers.
Usually, easier areas to target for looser regulations are limits on minimum sizes(either for units as a whole, for individual rooms, or minimum lot sizes), setback requirements, square footage coverage limitations, and regulations tailored to appearance. How restrictive these are can vary from county to county, and zoning. If an area has a "one structure per half acre lot" rule, then it usually encourages a suburban appearance and housing density. LA's zones top out at requiring 40,000 square feet per lot, for example.
Height, as you surmise, is another one. For LA*, building on the hills or coast grants you another 12 feet of allowed height. This is probably driven by "rich people live there" more so than safety. There no doubt are eventual limits beyond which we can't move without compromising safety, but California as a whole isn't there yet.
*They happened to have an easily accessible building code, other parts of CA may vary wildly.
Pfhorrest wrote:Building apartments doesn't really help with escaping from rent though because apartments are inherently rental housing. Yeah, you can "own" a condo which is basically an apartment, but not without paying HOA fees which are basically the same as rent inasmuch as you get kicked out of your home if you don't pay up.
It doesn't directly help you, but it does lessen the demand for housing. Everybody's got to live somewhere*. Some folks will be content with an apartment or condo, particularly if the prices are more reasonable. I don't particularly like HOAs myself, and don't really like the idea that I can end up with effective rent, changed by neighborhood busybodies, for my property. Some seem okay with them, though, and how bad they are varies a great deal. Some are quite reasonable. In any case, every person who ends up buying a condo instead of competing for a single family home helps you.
*Not entirely true. There is a reason California has a huge homeless problem. But people do try.
Pfhorrest wrote:I agree that HOA fees are still not as bad as rent, as far as justice is concerned, since the HOA is owned by the homeowners so like you say it's basically forced savings. But as far as acquiring a safe place that you can't be thrown out of no matter how hard you hit rock bottom, which is the bare minimum security a home is supposed to provide, they still ruin that.
Agreed. I feel similarly about property taxes. It's particularly bad for elderly/fixed income sorts that may be living in the family place that's appreciating. So, the property tax bill escalates, sort of forcing them to move. Both of these are limitations on property rights, and can be troublesome.
Fortunately, one can avoid HOAs by opting not to buy there. Property taxes are more difficult.
Pfhorrest wrote:If your roof leaks or you break a window or whatever and don't have savings to cover it, you've still got a place to be. Nobody's going to be mad at you but you. Not so when you share the building with other people. Then you have to answer to them. Bringing this back on the topic of libertarianism: isn't independence from other people supposed to be one of the big perks of that? Individualism vs collectivism and all that?
Sure. Freedom takes priority over individualism, though. If someone really wants to live in a commune or the like, we ought not stop them. However, it will be exceedingly rare that you'll find a libertarian who wants to live that way themselves. It doesn't fit their values, usually. They prefer owning a chunk of dirt free and clear almost without exception.
Even in a libertarian-run society though, it isn't necessary that everyone act like a libertarian. So long as they're refraining from forcing others into things, they're welcome to choose differently than we might. Thus, the existence of a HOA isn't a problem, so long as they don't crowd out non-HOA options.
Pfhorrest wrote:I mean yeah I guess if a bunch of other people want to pack in like sardines I could just say fuck em so long as I get mine, but that seems like an attitude that's not indicative of a healthy social situation.
A common issue with urban areas with shortages is that young folks end up renting rooms in a house rather than apartments because inexpensive apartments are in short supply. They would prefer studio apartments or similar, as they offer more independence, but work with what they can afford. Building more apartments would make these folks better off. More independence, plus cheaper rent helps pretty much everyone, regardless of goals.
The only folks who do not benefit are those who are hoping to make a profit off of ever increasing rent/sale prices, but libertarianism does not hold that expectations of profit entitle one to it. Folks ought to be able to build on their property though. So, the only people not benefiting from this are those with no moral obligation to.
Pfhorrest wrote:On the topic of people moving in to California but all of the poor people moving out: if everyone already living here had always been buying not renting, even if they were buying very slowly over a very long time in monthly payments comparable to their rental payments, then that wouldn't be a thing that happened. (Gentrification also wouldn't be a thing, and that's basically what you're describing: a whole goddamn state being 'gentrified'). The poor wouldn't be forced out of their homes and have to flee like refugees, unless we built more houses for them.
Gentrification is actually even more horrible than that. I mean, you're not wrong about what's happening, but gentrification can and does force people out of houses that they own in the traditional sense.
Eminent domain and the aforementioned property tax spiral both contribute to it. You're in more danger of losing your home if you rent, sure, but sometimes a well meaning politician decides some urban renewal is needed, and this whole area is gonna get bulldozed. Not nice enough for their standards.
More pervasive are cost of living increases. Everything tends to cost more on the coast, because the housing prices trickle around. If you live there, you have to make a lot in general, so all services(and goods involving services) tend to rise in price. You're paying a bit more than average for groceries, for restaurants, for going to a movie, for transportation. All of that eventually also contributes to forcing out people who don't make a lot. It's not as obviously evil as the above example, but the eventual result of the market distortion still takes a toll.
Plus, as SecondTalon says, you do have new young folks entering the housing market regularly.
ucim wrote:Pfhorrest - to a greater extent that you think, you can decide which side of the equation you want to be on.
Have you considered buying a multi-family home, and renting out the other units? Sure, the MF home is going to be more expensive (probably more than you can afford with your present job) but it comes with another job. If you can show that you are likely to have 80% occupancy (or so), then the income from those tenants (minus the expected expenses) counts as income to you, putting you in a higher income bracket, and thus making you eligible for a mortgage that would make the purchase possible.
This is an individual course of action, and runs into other problems. Namely, the benefit of renting is probably already priced in, making that house far less affordable. If he wished to build, he would have to deal with the aforementioned restrictions.
Aiming to outperform people on average is beneficial for him, but does not solve the overall problem. So, sure, it's definitely good that he's saving, he's trying to make it work as best as he can, but doing that doesn't change the market incentives. It's just trying to win within the system, it isn't changing the system. If you have x units and x+z families, then z families lack housing regardless of if you're on top of the pile or not.
If we're looking at it from an individual perspective, then sure. Knock yourself out with that. But from the ideological perspective, the greater problem must be addressed, or your ideology isn't being very useful.
I suspect that, if the situation continues without being addressed, the housing problem will eventually become untenable for further businesses to move in. Secondary tech clusters already exist elsewhere in part because of this. California farming is already running into a lot of issues(water rights, etc). All of those trends will likely continue to grow, and California might lose it's preeminence in some of these areas. I can't imagine the cost involved with setting up a new tech center, or even a new factory farm in the state.